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[maj-ik] /ˈmædʒ ɪk/
the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.; legerdemain; conjuring:
to pull a rabbit out of a hat by magic.
the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.
the use of this art:
Magic, it was believed, could drive illness from the body.
the effects produced:
the magic of recovery.
power or influence exerted through this art:
a wizard of great magic.
any extraordinary or mystical influence, charm, power, etc.:
the magic in a great name; the magic of music; the magic of spring.
(initial capital letter) the U.S. code name for information from decrypting machine-enciphered Japanese wireless messages before and during World War II.
employed in magic:
magic spells; magic dances; magic rites.
mysteriously enchanting; magical:
magic beauty.
of, relating to, or due to magic.
producing the effects of magic; magical:
a magic touch.
verb (used with object), magicked, magicking.
to create, transform, move, etc., by or as if by magic:
I magicked him into a medieval knight.
Origin of magic
1350-1400; Middle English magik(e) witchcraft < Late Latin magica, Latin magicē < Greek magikḗ, noun use of feminine of magikós. See Magus, -ic
Related forms
quasi-magic, adjective
2. enchantment. Magic, necromancy, sorcery, witchcraft imply producing results through mysterious influences or unexplained powers. Magic may have glamorous and attractive connotations; the other terms suggest the harmful and sinister. Magic is an art employing some occult force of nature: A hundred years ago television would have seemed to be magic. Necromancy is an art of prediction based on alleged communication with the dead (it is called “the black art,” because Greek nekrós, dead, was confused with Latin niger, black): Necromancy led to violating graves. Sorcery, originally divination by casting lots, came to mean supernatural knowledge gained through the aid of evil spirits, and often used for evil ends: spells and charms used in sorcery. Witchcraft especially suggests a malign kind of magic, often used against innocent victims: Those accused of witchcraft were executed. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for magic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was idle; a magic seems to shield a captive's leap for life.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • And like magic the prowler—whoever he was—vanished into the night.

    The Tale of Grunty Pig Arthur Scott Bailey
  • Jean sprang forward, all eagerness, her eyes on the magic apparition.

    The Story of Glass Sara Ware Bassett
  • The nexus between them and events was not cause and effect, but magic.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • It makes reality of the magic carpet in the Arabian Nights Tales.

    Nasby in Exile David R. Locke
British Dictionary definitions for magic


the art that, by use of spells, supposedly invokes supernatural powers to influence events; sorcery
the practice of this art
the practice of illusory tricks to entertain other people; conjuring
any mysterious or extraordinary quality or power: the magic of springtime
like magic, very quickly
of or relating to magic: a magic spell
possessing or considered to possess mysterious powers: a magic wand
unaccountably enchanting: magic beauty
(informal) wonderful; marvellous; exciting
verb (transitive) -ics, -icking, -icked
to transform or produce by or as if by magic
(foll by away) to cause to disappear by or as if by magic
Derived Forms
magical, adjective
magically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: via Old French magique, from Greek magikē witchcraft, from magosmagus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for magic

late 14c., "art of influencing events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces," from Old French magique "magic, magical," from Late Latin magice "sorcery, magic," from Greek magike (presumably with tekhne "art"), fem. of magikos "magical," from magos "one of the members of the learned and priestly class," from Old Persian magush, possibly from PIE *magh- (1) "to be able, to have power" (see machine). Transferred sense of "legerdemain, optical illusion, etc." is from 1811. Displaced Old English wiccecræft (see witch); also drycræft, from dry "magician," from Irish drui "priest, magician" (see druid).


late 14c., from Old French magique, from Latin magicus "magic, magical," from Greek magikos, from magike (see magic (n.)). Magic carpet first attested 1816. Magic Marker (1951) is a registered trademark (U.S.) by Speedry Products, Inc., Richmond Hill, N.Y. Magic lantern "optical instrument whereby a magnified image is thrown upon a wall or screen" is 1690s, from Modern Latin laterna magica.


1906, from magic (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for magic


Related Terms

tragic magic

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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magic in Technology

An early system on the Midac computer.
[Listed in CACM 2(5):16 (May 1959)].
[Jargon File]

1. As yet unexplained, or too complicated to explain; compare automagically and (Arthur C.) Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
"TTY echoing is controlled by a large number of magic bits." "This routine magically computes the parity of an 8-bit byte in three instructions."
2. Characteristic of something that works although no one really understands why (this is especially called black magic).
3. (Stanford) A feature not generally publicised that allows something otherwise impossible or a feature formerly in that category but now unveiled.
Compare wizardly, deep magic, heavy wizardry.
For more about hackish "magic" see Magic Switch Story.
4. magic number.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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magic in the Bible

The Jews seem early to have consulted the teraphim (q.v.) for oracular answers (Judg. 18:5, 6; Zech. 10:2). There is a remarkable illustration of this divining by teraphim in Ezek. 21:19-22. We read also of the divining cup of Joseph (Gen. 44:5). The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the history of the Exodus. Magic was an inherent part of the ancient Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life. All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn the "abomination" of the people of the Promised Land (Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-14). The history of Saul's consulting the witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:3-20) gives no warrant for attributing supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned it. It is not much referred to in the New Testament. The Magi mentioned in Matt. 2:1-12 were not magicians in the ordinary sense of the word. They belonged to a religious caste, the followers of Zoroaster, the astrologers of the East. Simon, a magician, was found by Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:9-24); and Paul and Barnabas encountered Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer, at Paphos (13:6-12). At Ephesus there was a great destruction of magical books (Acts 19:18, 19).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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